Spike Lee to direct Hip-Hop version of Romeo and Juliet

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Hot off his first Academy Award nomination for directing with last year's BLACKkKLANSMAN, Spike Lee has settled on his next project. While the intense director and consummate New York Knicks fan has delivered an eclectic variety of films over the years, everything from satirical comedies like BAMBOOZLED to gripping biopics like MALCOLM X, Lee will turn this time to The Bard for inspiration.

Spike Lee has signed on to direct PRINCE OF CATS for Legendary Pictures, based on the graphic novel by Ron Wimberly. A modern take on the classic Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet, the film "will be set in the 1980s hip-hop scene and tell the classic star-crossed love story from the perspective of Juliet’s angry cousin, Tybalt, whose underground sword fights with the rival Montague clan in Da People’s Republic of Brooklyn blossoms into a vibrant world fueled by music and dance." Actor Lakeith Stanfield was once attached to star as Tybalt, but has since dropped off the project.

This is certainly a provocative choice for Spike Lee as the film looks to contain multiple music and dance numbers, something that I don't believe Spike Lee's tackled since SCHOOL DAZE. The idea of Lee taking on the Hip-Hop scene feels like a perfect match for Lee's signature style. The fact that the movie is set in Brooklyn, the locale for many of Lee's films, probably appealed to the director as well.

While there's been multiple modern takes on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, most notably Baz Luhrmann's ROMEO + JULIET, I'm not sure if I've ever seen one from Tybalt's perspective. When you look objectively at Romeo and Juliet's tale, their love story is decidedly insane, a reason some scholars believe Shakespeare's play was satirical. It will be interesting to see the star crossed lovers' story told from the perspective of a close and volatile relative.

Spike Lee will have to wait a minute before filming PRINCE OF CATS. The director of OLDBOY is currently editing his latest picture DA 5 BLOODS, a Vietnam War film starring Chadwick Boseman. PRINCE OF CATS should start filming sometime in 2020.


Source: THR, Collider

About the Author

385 Articles Published